How Does Your Pet Fit into Your Estate Plan?
We’ve all heard the stories of wealthy eccentrics leaving millions of dollars – or even their entire estates – to their pets. But it’s important for average, ordinary people to think about what who will care for their pets when they’re no longer around to do so.
Why? Because if you don’t spell out what exactly should happen to Fido or Mittens after you pass away, one of two things is likely to happen. If your pet is lucky, your family members will fight over who gets to take care of it. Unfortunately, this can result in expensive legal fees for your family, not to mention damaged relationships that can last a lifetime. If your pet is unlucky, it will become one of the many that ends up homeless because it has no one to take care of it.
You can avoid both of these unnecessary situations by including your pet in your estate plan. There are several ways of planning for your pet, but one of the most effective is the pet trust. With a pet trust, you actually appoint a caregiver for your pet, as well as a separate trustee. You leave instructions for the caregiver, specifying how your pet is to be taken care of. You also leave money to the trustee, so that the trustee can provide for the needs of your pet, according to your instructions. The trustee has the added responsibility of making sure that the caregiver follows your instructions in taking care of your pet.
Including your pet in your estate plan gives you the peace of mind that your cherished companion will be taken care of and provided for even after you’re gone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robert Kulas
Experienced estate planning attorneys Port St. Lucie FL of the Robert J. Kulas, P.A. offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Port St. Lucie FL.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.